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Elsom predicting different encounter

By Ed Jackson 10/09/2010 03:22:30 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom is anticipating a much different encounter from his team's two previous outings when they play the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday night.

After two high-scoring, end-to-end Tests against the Springboks in South Africa, Elsom is preparing himself for a contrasting contest this weekend.

"I think the big difference is New Zealand's ability to slow the ball at the breakdown," Elsom told reporters on Friday.

"I think that you saw both games flow in South Africa because the contest was a lot faster at the breakdown.

"Both side's onballers either got it or didn't reasonably quickly, and so that's going to change the dynamic of the game because with a slower breakdown a lot of things change."

Elsom said the Wallabies' nine-Test losing streak against their trans-Tasman rivals wasn't a factor going into the game, which he insists the team just wants to win regardless of the circumstances.

And with the breakdowns likely to be crucial, Elsom knows his battle with opposite skipper Richie McCaw will once again prove decisive.

"He's one of their best players and has been for a long time," Elsom said of the All Blacks' No.7.

"The influence that he has at the breakdown for whatever reason is always a telling part in most of the matches that he's plays in, so that's an area for us to address."

Wallabies veteran Nathan Sharpe believes there's reason to believe Australia's poor record against the All Blacks is not far from turning around.

After last weekend's dramatic win over the Springboks in Bloemfontein ended a 47-year hoodoo in South Africa's highveld, the Western Force lock expects a more competitive Wallabies outfit than that which last lost 20-10 to the All Blacks in Christchurch.

"I think what we did in Christchurch is we gave ourselves opportunities to be in better positions, we just didn't take them," he said.

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